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Travel, Travel, Travel and Logical Fallacies

Travel, Travel, Travel and Logical Fallacies post image

The point of a Web Log is that it is a semi-continuous stream of “operational data and … times of routine events and significant incidents.” In other words, the ship is still sailing and things are happening, so say something for pete’s sake. In order to do so, however, one has to have the time and the latitude. One has to make the time and latitude, or you won’t come back here.

It was a hectic summer beginning with the celebration of my father’s birthday and D’s brother’s wedding to a warm and intelligent woman I am thrilled to have in the family. A summer wedding on the bay of Green Bay in Door County, Wisconsin followed by our own fireworks show (at which I wore a genuine article Sweater) is a nice break from the heat, humidity, traffic, traffic, office and traffic of Houston. My old industry sensei Rolf and I attended the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Integrated Quantitative Earth conference in Boston, where I co-chaired a session on Geostatistics & Uncertainty and got to sit on a panel on talent development and sustenance in the field of exploration geoscience. I think the key points of that conference is that we a) are still trying to define what integration and quantitative mean in exploring the subsurface for hydrocarbons and b) came up with a prioritized list of recommendations for the SEG board, after I voiced the opinion that many of us are tired of attending workshops in which we take a lot of illegal notes (more on this later) and neither, ahem, work nor produce anything to show for a few days’ worth of yammering. Domingo joined me towards the end of the week and we walked and ate our way through Boston, especially the Italian North End and the Freedom Trail. Peter Clemenza was right, “Take the cannoli.” Gods, I love that stuff.

Hello, babies.

If you are ever in Boston, do not leave the city before visiting Isabella Stewart Gardner’s home-of-expensive-art-and-curiosities-turned-museum. I want to be Isabella when I grow up, even if Domingo said it was like walking around your crazy aunt’s house and he should know given he had one. Or two. No pictures allowed in the Gardner, but here is my photo set from the Museum of Fine Arts. Late in the evening, we were two of the last few remaining folks in the museum and I will always remember standing under the Morse-code chandelier in the Modern Art wing, slow dancing to a quiet Louis Armstrong number.

I also uploaded all of the pictures we took during Galacticon 3 here in Houston. Galacticon 4 is coming sooner than expected in Seattle, Washington from July 31st – August 2nd, 2015, and I hear there will be Browncoats in the midst! Gorram!

Somewhere in all of this, artist, force of nature and dear friend Greg Peters succumbed to a lifelong heart ailment at the ripe young age of 50. A fellow upper Midwesterner and someone also extremely familiar with Eastern philosophies, Greg stood for what is right and capable in this world, a literal hand of justice. One of these days it is going to hit me like a ton of bricks that he is no longer here. Hell, I still can’t believe my in-laws, Ashley and my grandma are no longer with us. Right after we got back from Boston, D fell very ill. All I am going to say about it is that, when the time comes, a strength will come to you that knows only one thing: You will do everything to hold this person back from the brink. You will not let go.

Other things fell by the wayside. The high school reunion remained unattended; in retrospect, it is just as well. Thinking back on those years, I miss my teachers the most and they are long gone. Calculus and English were never more enjoyable than at that high school, and I realize more and more each day that the education we received was world-class. What other school teaches logic, reasoning and the rules of rhetoric in junior year English to be followed up by mandatory oratory and debate participation in senior year English? Yes, we read the obligatory Shakespeare and Toni Morrison and wrote essays, but the laser focus was always on critical thought, something that stands out due to its absence in modern American secondary education. The social and political “debates” I have with folks today are telling: they are full of straw men, bandwagoning and special pleading. But, the two really frustrating situations are the blank stares when I point out logical flaws in an argument because folks don’t know they are supposed to talk logically as well as a hasty retreat to a pathetic “Well, I don’t have time to argue that anyway.” Two requests: Please brush up on your logical fallacies and dance with what you brung; in other words, don’t raise a topic if you don’t want it discussed. It is a matter of life or death, because your opinion affects other people when you cast a vote based on it.


Tomorrow is the start of the annual Society of Exploration Geophysicists Conference for me. I will be hanging with the Agile geoscience duo Matt and Evan as well as a gang of software developers as part of a hackathon to attack uncertainty in geophysical analysis – it’s been a while since I’ve programmed seriously, but I am there as a subject matter guru, expert user, debugger and the ever-useful moral support. You can also catch me at the Rock Physics reception, the SEG Women’s Network breakfast, the “Bayou Bash” and the IQ Earth Forum this coming week.

More from the hackathon and SEG events. I am at @maitri on Twitter if something interesting goes down that #SEG2013 or #SEG13 (the super-seekrit backchannel) needs to know about.

1 comment… add one
  • Clay September 20, 2013, 10:23 PM

    We got to the picture of the canoli and immediately hightailed it to Angela Brocato’s.

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